This week, with Christmas fast approaching, we finally managed to book appointments with the notaio, the accountant, the bank manager, The Three Sisters, and Friendly Estate Agent. The notaio met us the day before our appointment, and told us that all is well. The accountant cancelled, the bank manager cancelled. The vendor meeting took place in gorgeous sunshine at The Olive Hill, but without any of the sisters who are selling The Olive Hill actually present, and the estate agent eventually arrived to act as a translator two hours late, thanks to a flat tyre en route. Thankfully, our Italian lessons are starting to bear fruit, the sun was shining, and we had a wonderful morning:
We recently also met Friendly Neighbour, on a visit to show Canadian friends “our” Olive Hill. As we parked up, he dashed down the hill to us, determined to give us directions to the local B & B. Once we had successfully explained who we were, he very kindly gave us a tour of his beautiful home. A house has stood on this spot since Roman times, he told us, as he pointed out beautiful painted ceilings, and an exquisite fresco of a saint on the wall of the study. He was very keen for us to us to also meet his wife, but no matter how often he called her, she never responded. After 10 minutes or so, he realised why …
“oh wait!” he exclaimed …
“this is not my house!”
Apparently he had moved into an annex to the main house several years ago, so we vacated the house of treasures, and went next door to his real home. A happy afternoon was passed drinking wine. Our Canadian friends don’t speak Italian, but no matter, they do speak English and French, so Friendly Neighbour chatted happily away with us all, whilst speaking French, Italian and English simultaneously, sometimes in the same sentence!
Unfortunately, our merry little band was spotted by Indispensable Neighbour, who, we learnt in our meeting this week, farms the land, looks after the veg plot, keeps and eye on the house, and has a son who is a builder and electrician extraordinaire. We learnt also, that so snubbed did he feel by our non appearance at his front door that afternoon, that he had resolved to never set foot on The Olive Hill again. This, explained the husband / brother in law of the vendors, was A Problem, and needed resolving urgently, as without Indispensable Neighbour, all our plans would surely fail. We were appalled and ashamed of ourselves, we stammered (well, I hope that’s what we said, as I’m still not quite certain that Mamma Mia actually means appalled, or that magari means anything specific at all). Fully informed of our shame, Brother in Law went next door and explained all. Thankfully, a coffee invitation was secured, and we went next door to grovel. Our Italian is poor, and Indispensable Neighbour speaks the local dialect, rather than Italian proper, but the boys (Friendly Estate Agent had arrived by this point) bonded over various power tools, and the biggest chain saw that I have ever seen. I nearly ruined everything when I blurted out that we intend to move the veg plot to make way for a swimming pool, but apart from that, we all parted the best of friends.
Finally, it was decided that I must become a Farmer (yes, with a capital F) immediately after the New Year, and that from that point, we will rent the land while the sale drags on. To celebrate my Nearly Farmer status, we harvested some of the citrus fruit from this fabulous tree.